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About Eklinaar

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  1. My parents made a conscious choice to let parts of their relationship play out in front of their kids so they could set a good example for us. So we saw them being loving and affectionate, having respectful disagreements, working out problems, worrying about money, doing chores together (or separately if that was more efficient), and generally just how mundane married life can be. They aren't perfect, and I didn't learn until I was an adult that my mother in particular has some bad habits when arguing, but overall I think they did a good job demonstrating how to have a healthy romantic relationship. They're genuinely happy together and they've learned how to be honest and work together. But I still never wanted what they have. It makes them happy, but it doesn't make me happy. And they don't get that. But I do think I have been able to apply some of what I learned from them to my own intimate relationships.
  2. Using Valentine’s Day to show platonic love.

    On the 13th, my closest friend sent me a message because she hadn't heard from me in a while and wanted to check on me and make sure our friendship was okay. I don't know if she thought of it because of Valentine's Day, but I appreciate her concern and love either way.
  3. so, it's valentine's day

    I've never cared much about Valentine's Day, myself. Tonight, I held my usual monthly polyamory discussion group, which is the second Wednesday of every month, so this month it happened to fall on Valentine's Day. There was pretty low turnout, which I expected, but we ended up having a good discussion. The last person I dated was polyamorous, so she spent Valentine's Day with her cohabiting boyfriend instead of me, which was fine with me. The person I dated before that was very opposed to Valentine's Day on feminist principles, so we didn't celebrate it. It's been a very long time since I've actually celebrated Valentine's Day. But I do have a good (long) story about it. During my freshman year in college (a very long time ago), I noticed a lot of Valentine's Day events being planned all around campus, and I also noticed people complaining about how prolific and obnoxious those events were. My dorm had a bunch of classrooms on the first floor, and we were encouraged to book them for events when they weren't being used for classes. So I decided to hold a kind of anti-Valentine's Day event, without explicitly calling it that. I called it Post-Nuclear Apocalypse Day, and I put up fliers around my dorm for it. The plan was to watch all three Mad Max movies (this was long before Fury Road came out) and try to have an enjoyable experience that was as opposite from romantic stereotypes as possible. I booked the biggest, nicest room in my dorm, the main parlor, managing to snag it before the people in my dorm who were planning their own Valentine's Day event. I did this mainly because it had the best TV and most comfortable couches, and this was going to be a movie marathon, after all. Post-Nuclear Apocalypse Day was a huge success. Nearly a third of the people in my dorm attended, far more than attended the actual Valentine's Day celebration. I got a lot of feedback the following week that it was really enjoyable, from allos who were bitter about being single, and from people who think Valentine's Day is a shit holiday and hate it, and from people who would just rather watch awesome action movies than make pink heart crafts. Since I got so much good feedback, and non-freshmen were required to organize at least one social event each semester, I repeated Post-Nuclear Apocalypse Day during my sophomore year. I didn't do anything different, and I managed to book the parlor again. I even used the same flier design from the previous year, and we watched the Mad Max trilogy again. Even more people came for the second year (some of them new freshmen), and again I got a ton of feedback about how enjoyable it was. The people running the Valentine's Day event stewed and gave me dirty looks for the next couple weeks. The following year, my junior year, in January, people began to talk about Post-Nuclear Apocalypse Day. Dozens of people were really excited about it coming up again. I'd pass people in the halls or on the streets on campus in late January and they'd tell me how much they were looking forward to it. So, without really thinking anything of it, I went ahead and scheduled it again for that year. Only there was a problem. I had a girlfriend that year. It was my junior year and her sophomore year, so she knew about the event, but she had not attended it the previous year. She had attended the Valentine's Day event in our dorm. When she saw the fliers that year for Post-Nuclear Apocalypse Day on February 14th, she was livid. She came to my room and demanded that I spend Valentine's Day with her instead. Back then nobody used the word "aromantic" and, like a lot of aros, I didn't know there was anyone else in the world like me, so I thought it was my duty to be a good partner and acquiesce to her demand. So I started taking down my fliers and telling people that Post-Nuclear Apocalypse Day was cancelled. I was bummed out about it, but I liked her and I wanted to try to succeed at this "romance" thing people were always going on about, even though I still hadn't figured out what was so great about it. The next day I woke up to a knock on my door. It was my girlfriend, and she looked like she was about ready to strangle me. She said, "I have been dealing with this all morning" in a tone that indicated both that she was furious with me and that she assumed I knew what she was talking about. "What?" I said, groggily (in those days I slept until 11 pretty regularly). "You didn't send them to me?" she said dubiously, putting her hands on her hips. "Huh? I just woke up," I said. She took a deep breath and explained, "At least twenty people have come up to me this morning and begged me to let you hold your event instead of taking me out to dinner. You didn't ask them to do that?" "No, of course not. People were disappointed I was cancelling it, but I encouraged them to do it without me if they wanted to," I explained. She sighed and said "Okay, put your fliers back up. Take me out to dinner a different night." So Post-Nuclear Apocalypse Day happened for a third year, and it had the biggest attendance yet. Half the dorm showed up. My girlfriend helped set up the Valentine's Day event in the basement, and she said less than 10 people came to it. She even dropped by Post-Nuclear Apocalypse Day for an hour, and when she left, I heard her mumbling something like "I guess your stupid event is kind of cool." I had booked a reservation at the most romantic restaurant in town for the next night (they literally had an article from the local newspaper hanging in their window with the title "Bianca's voted most romantic restaurant a third year in a row"). During dinner she said, "I saw how much people love your event. I'm sorry I made you cancel it, even if they're cold-hearted bastards." She still had to express her bitterness that my event was way more popular than the actual Valentine's Day event, even in her apology, but she acknowledged that I had tried to accommodate her and thanked me for that. She even admitted that going out to dinner on the 15th worked out better, anyway, because the restaurant was half-empty and the staff were a lot more relaxed. That was my last year in that dorm, but Post-Nuclear Apocalypse Day was a tradition by that point. The residents asked me to come back the next year and hold it again, even though I didn't live there any more. I was living with my girlfriend by then, and she rolled her eyes and grumbled, but encouraged me to go do it, and we had Valentine's dinner the following night. After the fourth year, I didn't host Post-Nuclear Apocalypse Day any more, but I heard that the residents of that dorm kept up the tradition for at least a few years after my departure. My girlfriend and I split up on good terms after she graduated, and we stayed friends for a while. I even attended her wedding a few years later. We don't talk any more, but last I heard, she's still happily married, thankfully, to someone who isn't me. Ever since Fury Road came out, there have been Mad Max Valentine's memes, which delight me to no end. I'm sure they aren't connected with my original event at all, and are just inspired by the awesomeness of that movie in particular, but I'm so glad that other people came up with a similar idea and turned it into something people can share. I suspect my original event has been largely forgotten, but I'm glad other people still share the sentiment that admiring Mad Max is the most appropriate way to not participate in Valentine's Day.
  4. Feeling Left Behind...

    Yep, you just described my social life.
  5. How fast can you type?

    I used to do data entry. I clocked over 120 wpm on one of their tests, but sustaining that for hours on end is nearly impossible. 75 is really good. If you're hitting that, you're already doing most things right. The only way to get faster is to just keep practicing. There are some web sites that can help you practice speed typing, but I haven't used them. Ergonomic keyboards are really important for sustained speed typing. Personally I do not use one at home, but I don't need to speed type at home. When I was doing data entry, though, an ergonomic keyboard was a necessity. Once you get used to one, you can type faster on it, because you have better movement in your wrists and hands.
  6. coming out again

    This is an interesting topic. I also realized I'm not out to many people as aro. I'm nonbinary trans, and I am out to a lot of people about that (but never coworkers, not until I have legal protections, which don't exist or are unenforceable in the US). I'm also very involved in a polyamory community, and I'm out to fewer people about that than I am about being trans, but more than I am about being aro. The only one of these three I'm out to my family for is being trans. My closest friend (who is very cishet allo and mono) reacted with the same sensitivity and kindness she always does, which is why she's my closest friend. But she really doesn't understand it. None of my friends, besides people I've met here, are aro, and it's lonely to feel like most the people I'm close to don't understand what I'm experiencing. Though, I guess for a lot of my relationships, being aro just isn't an issue that needs to be discussed. I'm not going to be intimate with them, and I either don't trust them to the point where I want to reveal those sorts of things, or talking about intimacy isn't a part of those relationships. But I think I would like to be out to more people than I am about being aro. I definitely think some people will be dismissive of it, more than were dismissive about me being nonbinary. Mostly though I just want our society to be more sensitive to the needs of aros, and not to devalue the kinds of relationships that aros thrive on. And it's really hard to talk about that in a meaningful way without being out about it. I guess what I want more than feeling comfortable being out is meaningful connection with people who validate or even celebrate my experience, whether it's similar or different compared to theirs. Add that to The Aro Agenda™.
  7. Platonic connections in a romantic world

    I definitely fantasize more about living with my close friends than I ever have about my partners, but they're all monogamous and married and would think that's weird. I have lived alone and rather liked it, but living with someone I get along with very well is a very appealing idea.
  8. Relationship Anarchy

    Yep, I completely agree. Those are skills that everyone could benefit from. I often invite monogamous friends to my discussion group because I think they would find it interesting and useful, and most of what they would learn would be just as helpful in their monogamous relationships. I'd love an opportunity to run workshops for the general public, but I'm not really sure how to get started on that or if I'd need a degree or something to be viewed as "legitimate".
  9. Relationship Anarchy

    I've run a discussion group for the local polyamory community for several years, and a number of relationship anarchists are members of this community. There is significant overlap in the philosophy of polyamory and the philosophy of relationship anarchy, though the language is different. They have different philosophical roots, but have arrived to similar philosophical conclusions. Most of what you listed are also considered to be key values of polyamory. Mostly, in my discussion group, we focus on developing skills and providing a supportive and safe environment for people to talk about personal issues. The skills we work on are mainly communication skills, emotional self-awareness, time management, setting boundaries, and ethical consideration. These are, of course, useful skills for nearly any human interaction, which is something I point out regularly. The foundation of polyamorous relationships is open, honest communication and informed, enthusiastic consent. These are philosophies that I find work very effectively in any kind of emotionally or physically intimate relationship, or really any relationship that involves spending a lot of time together. And I like to add a third part to the foundation, which is critical, never-ending self-exploration to understand one's boundaries, needs, desires, and emotional states, which can often be fluid. The three parts of the foundation are interdependent, and it all falls apart if any one of them is neglected. As an aromantic, I do find it a little odd that I'm so heavily involved in a polyamory community, since the implication is that polyamorous relationships are inherently romantic. But while the assumption of romance is there, I've found that people engage in polyamory for a wide variety of reasons beyond infatuation and attraction, and the kinds of intimate relationships I want are compatible with the desires of many polyamorists. Polyamorists tend to be well-practiced in critically examining relationship structures, which is something I value greatly. Plus, relationship anarchists don't form large communities that hold regular events, at least not in my area. Some polyamorists follow the typical relationship progression timeline, which we call "the relationship escalator", and others don't. In general, I've found that the polyamorists in this area just advise to think critically about the cultural scripts that guide people to follow the relationship escalator, and make conscious decisions about whether or not to do that, rather than unconsciously following those scripts. Though a few speak out strongly against following it regardless of examination. I'm not sure what "fake it til you make it" even means in the context of relationship anarchy, or relationships in general. That doesn't make any sense to me. The only time it's ever made sense to me is in behavioral therapy, and that is about convincing yourself that you are worthwhile or skilled or whatever, not convincing other people. "Faking it til you make it" to convince other people of anything seems dishonest to me.
  10. Platonic connections in a romantic world

    Yes, I feel this way. Even my closest friends who know me well are still confused by my experience of intimacy and attraction. The conversions I've had with people on this forum have made that even more clear. It's doubly difficult for me since I'm nonbinary, too. I find it very difficult to develop intimate relationships, which is ironic, since I run a polyamory discussion group. But most people want romance and infatuation, things I can't provide. Like you, I value my solitude, but a life without intimacy is not satisfying, and friendships aren't enough when all my friends prioritize their romantic relationships over friendships. I haven't been intimate with anyone who is arospec, but I assume it would avoid a lot of the problems I usually encounter. But I'm sure there would be other issues. People are complicated. I've had a few long term intimate relationships, but they all ended for the same reasons. I'd like some sort of long term partner (cohabitation optional), but I still haven't met someone compatible.
  11. Feeling Left Behind...

    Yes, I am always tired of coming second to people who view their romantic relationships as more important than friendships. I think a lot of other people here feel similarly. It's frustrating and hurtful to be ignored and denied companionship because I don't participate in these weird cultural rituals and don't experience a very particular kind of attraction.
  12. I'm AMAB nonbinary. I'm fairly masculine-presenting but I identify as mostly agender. So, a lot of my fundamental experience is different from yours, but I think there are some similarities. I find straight cis men to be almost universally repulsive. However, this isn't because of their identity or because of dysphoria, it's because of their behavior. I realize that none of this is inherent to the straight cis male identity, just that toxic masculinity is so pervasive that it's near-universal. Most straight cis men behave terribly, say sexist things frequently, are unnecessarily aggressive and competitive, believe they deserve everything they want, and they hide a lot of this behavior from anyone who isn't also a cis straight man. Because I'm tall and hairy and have a deep voice, most straight cis men assume I am straight and cis, so they let their guard down and behave in utterly repugnant ways when no women or queer people are around; the "boys club" mentality. Younger men seem to be a bit better in this regard since they tend to be more aware of feminism and sexism, but it's still a big problem. I already get pretty dysphoric when people treat me like I'm male because I know I am not, but people associating me with such a bigoted and violent demographic is very upsetting to me a lot of the time. I have met some straight cis men who are very considerate and empathetic and thoughtful, and I wish other straight cis men would realize that these men are good role models for them. Most of my friends are straight cis women, and while I enjoy our friendships, our relationships are often strained by their inability to understand my trans identity. It's also hard when I know that a lot of women bond with each other in ways relating to their female identity, and I can't share most of that. Our society has all these rituals for binary men and women to bond with each other over shared experience, and it can feel very lonely being nonbinary and left out of all that. My experiences with trans people are very mixed. I greatly appreciate discussing our trans experiences, but I find that a lot of binary trans people are wary of me, and some suspect that I'm "not really trans" because I'm comfortable with my body. So even in trans community spaces I often feel isolated because these communities often revolve around the experience of body transition, which is not something I'm doing. But the emotional and personal experience of being trans is something I can relate to very strongly. I have had a few close trans friends, but for a variety of reasons, none of those relationships continue to this day. I very rarely meet nonbinary people, and even when I do, we usually have such different personalities and interests that we can't really sustain a friendship. As for me, attraction and gender identity are just totally separate things. Gender has so much to do with behavior, appearance, personality, communication styles, and all sorts of other things that aren't related to attraction. There are social rules for particular gender roles in relationships defined by attraction, but they still seem like separate things. I'm sure not everyone experiences it this way, but to me, at least, it seems like there are pretty clear distinctions. I don't feel like my experiences of attraction and my experiences of gender identity influence each other very much, since my gender identity is about who I am, and attraction is about who I want to be intimate with.
  13. I want relationship(s); need advice

    Where I live, everything other than OKCupid is for strictly casual sex or strictly heteronormative amatonormative stuff. Everyone in my city sees OKCupid as "the queer-friendly dating site", so I tried it a few years ago, but I found that I was much too queer for the population here. Most people in my area don't know what nonbinary is, much less are interested in dating someone nonbinary, and aromantic is just way too confusing for them. So I gave up on sites like that entirely until something that isn't for romance comes along (hopefully Patook will take off). Your experience could be very different, though. I've heard dating sites really vary from city to city. I also wonder if part of my trouble finding people open to accommodating my experience is my age. I find that people my age are utterly befuddled by nonbinary and aromantic identities, while people 10 years younger than me seem much more understanding. To answer your question, though, I think the only way how you will ever know what those sites are like in your area is to try them yourself or ask other people like you in your area. They vary so much by region and demographic that no account can be considered universal.
  14. Where I live, the relationships side of Craigslist is super creepy, and everyone uses Match.com and OKCupid instead. But everyone on those sites is either very amatonormative or just looking for casual sex. I think the city I live in is just mostly affluent suburbanites who want to live the storybook American dream and aren't interested in challenging assumptions or exploring queerness. Even the queer people here want white picket fences and obscenely large cars and Happily Ever After™. I really should move to a more cosmopolitan place.
  15. Hurt

    I'm so sorry you're going through this right now. I know how hard it is in this kind of situation, from both sides (in fact, I need to go apologize to someone right now for not being as present as I had been able to in the past). I think some of us aromantics especially feel the loss of friendship very strongly, since close friendship is the most intense kind of voluntary relationship we usually experience (I have a theory that some aromantics experience close friendship MORE intensely than allos, but no proof of this). I have lost friends who I thought wanted to always be there, because they got married or had babies or just decided that a close friendship was inappropriate, and it always feels like the way people describe a bad divorce. I still deeply miss some of them, years later. Nothing I can say will fix the pain you are feeling, but I can say that you aren't alone and there is a community of supportive people here. As for your friend, there's always the possibility that she really does want to be there for you and can't. I don't want to assume what her motivations are, but I've been in that position. As someone who suffers from bad depression and anxiety and has had other illnesses recently, I have had to end friendships just because I am too exhausted and ill to make the effort of communication. It's hard to explain how much my illnesses take out of me sometimes and how sick I feel. Sometimes I can't even get out of bed. Sometimes I'm so sick that I can't even decide what to eat. Just the effort of making that decision is insurmountable. I didn't want to withdraw from most of my friends, but I literally could not muster the energy to make the decisions required to carry a conversation. It's heartbreaking to be in either position, and the best I can do is go back and attempt to repair some of those friendships at times when I am not as ill. Regardless of her motivations or intentions, the pain you are feeling is real and present, and I hope you can recover from it. The best advice I can offer is don't run from your sadness, but also take care of yourself, even if you don't want to. Our needs for intimacy and companionship are real and valid, and the pain and grief we feel when we lose those things are real and valid, even if our experiences don't fit the mainstream.